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President Hosts Open Budget Forum

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 20, 2009

Calling these “tough times for everybody” President Mark Huddleston said during a budget forum Monday that the administration is actively working to balance the FY10 and FY11 budgets.

Separating the information into two categories—what we know and what we don’t know—the president offered these facts:

What we know: 

  • State funding in 2010 is expected to be the same as in 2009
  • The FY10 endowment payout is $1.3 million less that FY09 levels
  • Grants and contract proposals and awards are at their lowest level in recent years
  • Deposits have been received from 3,200 incoming undergraduate students
  • The residency of those students who have made deposits is 53 percent resident and 47 percent non resident which is slightly more favorable than expectations
  • Number of registered continuing students (8,100) is in line with expectations
  • Fringe benefit rate is 46 percent

What we don’t know:

  • Final state funding amount—state budget not yet approved
  • How much revenue we will receive
  • Results of union negotiations (faculty and police)          
  • How many of the 3,200 students will come to UNH and what their financial aid needs will be
  • The attrition rate of fall 2009 students to spring 2010
  • Amount of stimulus funds UNH may receive from submitted proposals
  • The AY09-10 tuition rate

Calling the incoming student enrollment good news, Huddleston cautioned that the ‘summer melt’ won’t be known until fall. The melt rate, 8 percent last year, is determined by the number of students who make deposits but end up not attending UNH.

“I think we’d be willing to bet that number will again be at about 8 percent, if not higher,” Huddleston said.

Attrition will also be a factor.

“We operate so close to the margins that 60 or 70 students not being here makes a difference,” said Mark Rubinstein, vice president for student and academic services.

Rubinstein also serves as interim vice president for advancement, a position Huddleston created to blend the Alumni Association and the UNH Foundation into a single, coordinated advancement operation. When asked how the restructuring plays into budget issues, Rubinstein said the partnering will capture the best of both organizations, translating into support for both.

“Which the university needs now until the end of time,” he said.

Another question was related to the addition of a January term and its impact on the budget. Huddleston described it as a “win-win-win” situation.

“Sooner or later there would be net revenue,” he said.

When asked whether the university is in fairly good shape, Huddleston said, “I believe that if we get bigger classes, we probably will see a modest increase in revenue but we’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us.”

Asked how bad FY11 looks, the president said “A lot worse than FY10,” adding that work has begun to “chip away at ‘11.”

“We’re going to need to have hard conversations next year,” Huddleston said.


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